If you’re a lady who struggles with the whole sleep thing, you are not alone.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, women are more likely to have insomnia then men. Specifically, as a study WebMD published in 2011 tells us, 27% of working women struggle with insomnia, compared to 20% of men. That’s a LOT of ladies who aren’t getting their 7-8 hours.
So what’s up with this sleep gap? As the U.S. Office of Women’s Health tells us, one culprit is periods. (We know, we know, it’s ALWAYS periods.) Women find their sleep disturbed throughout their menstrual cycles by hormonal changes, and during perimenopause, hot flashes and night sweats can also mess with sleep.
But it’s not JUST period stuff. It’s also pregnancy stuff. There are hormonal, physical, and emotional fluctuations that can wreck a good night’s sleep, and in particular during the third trimester, pregnant women are often woken up by physical complaints like leg cramps and the need to pee every 47 minutes.
Lastly, there are medical conditions that are more common in women than in men, such as depression, anxiety, fibromyalgia that count insomnia among their symptoms. There are also certain sleeping disorders, like restless leg syndrome, that are more common in women than in men.
Okay, so we got our explanations, now what are we going to DO about our sleepless nights? The Office of Women’s Health has some sound advice for us!
Exercise — Do it. But do it 2-3 hours before bedtime, or it might make it harder to go to sleep.
Naps — Not after 3pm, farewell, pre-dinner naps, you were lovely while you lasted.
Routine — Get up at the around the same time every morning, go to bed at the same time every night. Also adopt the same bedtime routine — take a bath each night before bed, listen to music, read a book, that kind of stuff.
To-do lists — Make one before bed so you don’t spend bedtime worrying.
Alk and cigs — None of that late in the day. Also coffee/all things caffeine. But you knew that.
The Bedroom — Dark, quiet, and cool are the watchwords. Wear a sleep mask if light is an issue. If noise is the problem, earplugs or a white noise machine could be a big help.
The bed itself — Only for sleeping and sex. Watch Netflix on the couch.
And if you still can’t get to sleep after 20 or so minutes, get up and out of bed, go do something quiet like reading in another room, then, try again when you do feel sleepy.
Of course, you always want to see a doctor if you’re even moderately worried about your health, that is, after all, what doctors are for. Fingers tightly crossed that if you are having sleeping issues, that they are speedily resolved and that you’re clocking eight (even nine!) hours in no time.
(Image via Sony Pictures)